Welcome to the Ciapponi Lab
Working with the Drosophila system was a true love at first sight and I am still in love ever since
Drosophila melanogaster is a highly conserved animal system, similar with vertebrates in many basic biological, physiological, and neurological aspects. Drosophila genome is 60% homologous to that of humans, less redundant, and about 75% of the genes responsible for human diseases have homologs in flies. These features, together with a brief generation time, low maintenance costs, and the availability of powerful genetic tools, allow the fruit fly to be eligible to study complex pathways relevant in biomedical research, including cancer and neuromuscular diseases.
The Ciapponi laboratory is interested in the understanding of different pathogenic mechanisms that are at the basis of neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases, such as Myotonic Dystrophy type 2 (DM2), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or primary microcephaly. Much of our research focuses on identifying the molecular pathways responsible for the onset of these diseases using the simple invertebrate model organism.
The laboratory further investigates how cells maintain the genome integrity, a process essential for organism survival, as several recent studies suggest that defective DNA repair also underlies brain aging and age-associated neuro degeneration.